The Associated Press is reporting a proposal in the US that zero-tolerance policies should be replaced with programs to teach children how to get along with each other.
Zero-tolerance policies are ineffective in combating bullying, an independent government advisory group says in urging schools to take a more preventative approach that includes teaching tolerance to address this “serious public health problem.”
In a report released Tuesday, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine said bullying should no longer be dismissed as merely a matter of kids being kids. “Its prevalence perpetuates its normalization. But bullying is not a normal part of childhood,” the report said.
“There’s no evidence that they are impactful in a positive way,” said Catherine Bradshaw, a professor and associate dean at the University of Virginia, and part of the committee that wrote the report. “They can actually do more harm than good and in fact don’t provide the skill training or replacement behaviors for youth that are suspended or expelled.”
Bullying behavior is seen as early as preschool and peaks during the middle school years, the researchers said. The problem has morphed from the traditional bully-in-the-schoolyard scenario to newer forms of electronic aggression, such as cyberbullying on social media sites.
The report said both bullies and their victims can suffer short and long-term consequences, including poor grades, anxiety and depression.
How does your school tackle bullying? Is it effective? Let us know your thoughts.
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